Come Out with Pride Orlando: A Brief History
The ninth annual Come Out with Pride week, Orlando’s LGBT pride celebration, will take place this year from October 1-6. Presented this year by Macy’s, this year’s festivities include entertainment and events with filmmaker John Waters, singers Steve Grand, Martha Wash and Taylor Dayne, among others.
Orlando’s LGBT pride spirit was first put on display in 1992 (unrelated to this event) when a small and scared group marched to City Hall to picket for equality. Fast forward to 2005. The Come Out with Pride event was the brainchild of the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), the LGBT chamber of commerce for central Florida. They felt the need to put together a pride celebration that not only united the community but also brought attention to the many anti-gay laws in the state of Florida and what Floridians are doing to be on the right side of equality.
The first Come Out with Pride festival was held on October 9, 2005. According to organizers, the datepride-3 was selected due to its favorable weather, its proximity to National Coming Out Day, and the fact that Central Florida already had a large-scale LGBT event in the traditional month of June with Gay Days. Attendance grew to over 10,000 in its second year, to over 50,000 attendees estimated in 2009, and now between 100,000 and 125,000 for last year’s event. Depending on who you talk to, it is either Florida’s second-largest LGBT event, after St. Pete Pride, or it has grown so much that it has stolen St. Pete’s crown and is now Florida’s largest LGBT event. In the past grand marshals of the pride parade have included Olympians Greg Louganis and Mary-Ellen Clark, singer Debbie Gibson, TV personality Jonathan D. Lovitz, and human rights activist Stuart Milk.
About the Pride Entertainers:
John Waters, now 67, became famous for his shock value films in the 1970s that became synonymous with the genre of "the Cinema of Transgression." His films included a regular troupe of actors called the Dreamlanders, which consisted of Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey, and his muse, the late Divine. His most famous cult films are the "Trash Trilogy," starting with Pink Flamingos (1972), continuing on with Female Trouble (1974) and ending with Desperate Living (1977). The latter film starred Liz Renay, an ex-con best known for being the girlfriend of mobster Mickey Cohen.
Starting with the 1981 film Polyester, mainstream actors found their way into Waters’ films. In the aforementioned film, Divine was paired opposite 1960s teen idol Tab Hunter. Casting more mainstream actors like Jerry Stiller and Ricki Lake, among others, in 1988’s Hairspray, only encouraged Waters as the film grossed over $8 million. Waters favorites Patty Hearst, Ricki Lake and Traci Lords found themselves in two other features, 1990’s Cry-Baby and 1994’s Serial Mom.